Blaugust Day 31 – End of the Challenge

Soooo….. <slowly building drumroll> here it comes <timpani joins in> The final post of Blaugust! <cymbals clash, trumpet fanfare etc.> 

One post every single day has been a bit of a chore at times, at least to start, although each time I got started with a post, I always found myself enjoying it. 

I think the most important thing I’ve learned is  that I don’t need to write a lot in order to make a point, and a long post is not necessarily better than a shorter one. I do like to write longer posts when I have the time, but I do also tend to waffle sometimes. Having to write every day regardless of whether I have time has forced me to learn how and when to be brief.

I’ve also discovered that the best posts can come from very little. Sometimes I would sit down having no idea what to write, come up with the thread of an idea and end up with something I was really proud of.
So am I going to continue to blog everyday? Well, no, especially as I might not have regular internet for re next fortnight. But I am going to attempt to keep up regular blogs, and I would like to do a blogging challenge again at some point (Blogtober has been mooted? Maybe?)

Funnily enough, I find myself not sure how to end this one, except to say a big thank you to my current favourite blogger Alternative Chat, whose tweets about Blaugust, and whose own daily dedication to posting persuaded me to take up this challenge. I’m very glad that I did.

Blaugust Day 30 – Insta Wide

So, after years of the square image and video format – Instagram has suddenly decided to add the options of landscape and portrait to their app, and in a lovely bit of brand crossover, the first time most of us saw it was through this Instagram video showing off some new footage from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (By the way, something you should see even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, if only because the first shot is very pretty.)

Instagram talks a fair bit in the blog post linked above about how good this will be for advertisers, and certainly the Star Wars post proves that – especially since, looking at my timeline recently, movie posters and trailers make up a lot of the promoted posts. Admittedly, I rarely get promoted posts in my timeline – it will be interesting to see whether that increases now these new formats have come on.

Blaugust Day 29 – The Sound of an Empty Office

Full confession – the ‘strange post’ that I referred to in yesterday’s blog… Is not this one. I had much of that one written up, then as soon as I posted Friday’s blog and was about to go back to finish today’s… I decided that I didn’t like it. Moreover, I felt I had a better topic, and immediately decided to roll with that instead. 

I used to wrote quite a lot about sound and acoustics on this blog, since I did study audio for a long time. But the less I was was involved in audio, the less I wrote, and eventually those kind of posts petered put altogether.

Alongside this I had another realisation – I don’t listen in the same way any more either. A few years ago, picking sounds out my environment, isolating them in my mind, analysing them and even considering how they might be reproduced, or altered in  studio environment, was almost second nature to me. 

This hit me today while I was at work, probably because, usually, there were hardly any people in our large open plan offices, and for long periods of time I was sitting there completely by myself. I found myself starting to pay attention once more to the background noises that I’ve quite unconsciously learned to tune out – road traffic, the food processor in the restaurant downstairs, people chatting under the window.

Back when I was studying film audio, knowing about these sounds was vital, because they are what part of what make a film seem real, even if the audience don’t fully realise it. Picking out those sounds and recognising their importance is a learned skill, and one I’ve realised I don’t want to lose, even if I’m no longer in that field. 

Blaugust Day 28 – The Final Push

So, we’re only four days and four blog posts from the end of Blaugust, and I’ve suddenly realised that this is a huge problem because I am flying to France tomorrow and I have no guarantee of internet when I get there. So it’s hit me that I need to produce not one, but four posts today and hope that WordPress scheduling doesn’t let me down. 
I’m writing this to the train on the way to work, and that actually feels rather strange to me, since I’ve become used to writing out one quick post, all in one go, right before I go to bed. Certainly I have written some earlier over the course of this challenge, but they were mostly longer, involved posts that I researched and took my time over. 

Perhaps environment plays a part too – there’s a great deal of difference between writing in the relative quiet and comfort of my room, and writing on a crowded, overly warm, loud commuter train.

Anyway, three more posts to get going on – a warning, the next two get a little strange. Apparently public transport affects my writing as much as my ability to write!

Blaugust Day 27 – The Day Facebook took over the World

Today, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg posted something quite incredible – that on Monday, 1 billion people used Facebook at some point over 24 hours. That’s around one in seven people in the world.

This is clearly a triumph for Facebook, but more than that it is an unprecedented level of connectivity that seemed out of reach only a few years ago. I don’t know if there is any research that can accurately tell us how many people worldwide have internet access, it would be an incredibly difficult thing to pinpoint. 

After all, it isn’t just people with home access, something that is trackable. On Monday, people in parts of South East Asia might have logged in from one of the many Internet cafés that have become an integral part of culture and society there. In parts of Africa, internet usage has pretty much bypassed the computer era altogether and run headlong into mobile phones – and Facebook is quite accessible via SMS services, even without an internet connection. 

Internet access is still a privilege, (unfettered access certainly is) but it’s certainly no longer the preserve of the elite, and the number of people online grows all the time. Is it too much to hope that one day everyone (well, almost everyone) will have the opportunity to use it, with all the services and advantages it provides? A world connected not by politics or society, but by online communication, should be a goal worth striving for.

Blaugust Day 26 – Live Theatre Screenings

So tonight I’m yet again blogging late because I spent most of this evening out at The Plaza Theatre, watching an RSC Live screening of Othello. I haven’t been to a live cinema broadcast before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I have, however, read quite a lot about them, and their possible effects on the changing face of cinema, theatre, and the Arts in general. Some people have suggested that ‘event cinema’ – everything from live opera to live sports, is the salvation of a medium that might otherwise to lost to on-demand and internet television. From the arts side, there has been some backlash, claiming that it will damage regional theatres in the UK if touring companies decide it is easier and cheaper to simply broadcast their performances rather than leave the comfort of their home venue. Likewise, audiences may prefer the cheaper option of a cinema ticket, to the expense of the real thing. This is just within the United Kingdom too – it doesn’t even begin to take into account the international audiences who enjoy live screenings such as the one tonight.

This is something I’m sure certain arts organisations are looking into, but only time will tell whether this is beneficial or detrimental to the current, fragile state of the arts in this country. Meanwhile, I’m deeply glad that they happen. I have never seen the Rotal Shakespeare Company performing in the flesh, and if I do it may well be a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity. Tonight’s show was a thrilling and moving experience, and even if being at the other end of a satellite link hundreds of miles away meant I missed certain nuances (made up for, in my view, by the actor interviews and other additions during the performance’s interval) it was more than worth it.

Blaugust Day 25 – Planned and Unplanned Writing

When I began Blaugust, I decided that it would be much better if I planned what I wrote in advance. I had a list of possible topics, and and sets of drafts.

Honestly? I hardly used any of them. Each time I sat down to write, I found myself both dismissing the topics I had in mind, and often finding something topical in the news, or new and interesting to me, that I would far rather write about.

So I started doing blog posts on the spur of the morning, writing whatever topic came to mind as I sat down to sat. For a while this worked, but suddenly I find myself sitting down and having nothing to write.

So, clearly a balance needs to be found, between keeping my posts spontaneous, or not getting writers block through lack of planning.

I’ve written a lot of posts about writing recently – I think I need some new blog categories! I’ve already made a few overdue changes to this blog, but a few more are definitely needed – or else at least 50% of everything I write will end up in ‘other’,